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What's with the red motorcyle?
October 10, 2012 1:09 AM   Subscribe

What's the story with the red motorcycle/porn spam on public Facebook pages?

On a few facebook pages I visit, for the past couple of months, a spammer will come and post a photograph of a red motorcycle. The spammer's profile picture is pornographic. Like, actual penis/mouth/bum photos.

The spammer sometimes appear to be an individual, but most often a recently created page, and will post once an hour or so, until the mod notices/deletes/blocks.

The trick is that because the motorbike isn't itself porn, anybody who clicks 'report' on that picture gets a reply from Facebook saying that the picture is fine. They make their profile picture unclickable on the page so you can't report it the picture itself.

Is this a known bot/exploit/behaviour of compromised accounts? I can't even figure out the point of it for the spammer. Just know it is upsetting a lot of people with the random dick picks on some page where people are just carrying on talking about their housework techniques and how to get mildew stains out of salmon lasagne or something.
posted by slightlybewildered to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
 
Sounds like mildly clever trolling.
posted by ryanrs at 1:13 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could be trolling, or could be an method of spamming where they a) attract people who actually do want to look at porn (and tempt them to click through to their profile, while simultaneously b) avoiding having their profile reported by making people who don't want to look at porn unlikely to click through to the profile to report it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:48 AM on October 10, 2012


I'm a mod at a mid-size community forum. Ever since we started allowing new member registrations using Facebook logins, we've noticed a relatively small number of the Facebook logins being spammers. So, this doesn't surprise me in the least. It's going to be interesting to see how Facebook prevents the platform from becoming a spam host...And interesting to see how the spammers work around Facebook's efforts.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:52 AM on October 10, 2012


Just curious - you say that they make their profile pick "unclickable on the page". Do you mean the page where they post the motorcycle, or their own profile page? Because if it's the former, it strikes me that you could click through to their own profile, access the photos and report them from there.

if you mean they've somehow made their own profile photos unclickable even on their profile page, I'd actually like to know how they pulled that off.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:21 AM on October 10, 2012


Just curious - you say that they make their profile pick "unclickable on the page". Do you mean the page where they post the motorcycle, or their own profile page? Because if it's the former, it strikes me that you could click through to their own profile, access the photos and report them from there.

I assume they mean that no-one wants to click on the link to their profile because their profile pic is explicit and they'll have to see a larger version of it on their profile page. So basically they are relying on the fact that the profile picture is explicit to stop people reporting that the profile picture is explicit.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:03 AM on October 10, 2012


It's quite possible to make the profile picture "unclickable". It's a privacy setting.

It has something to do with locking down who can see your full sized profile picture. It's been a while since I have messed around with it, but I see it on other (non-friends) profiles quite often.

(Cover photo are a different story. Those are always fully visible. And therefore clickable. No privacy settings there.)
posted by Folk at 6:10 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if you set it so only friends can view your full profile picture, the profile thumbnail won't be a link to it for anyone but friends.

On such a profile page, if you click the little gear icon next to Add Friend/Message, you can report the user, and one of the options for the reason you give is "inappropriate profile picture". That'd probably be how to deal with it...
posted by Dysk at 6:50 AM on October 10, 2012


Since they're pages, there's no "inappropriate profile picture" icon, just an option to report the page itself. And yes, that's what they've done to make their profile picture album unclickable.

I think it is all to do with the custom tabs they are using which embed video icons in an iframe in the middle of the page.
posted by slightlybewildered at 2:04 PM on October 16, 2012


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